I was panicked yesterday on the first leg of my flight back home when I realized that I had somehow forgotten to download the final episode of Serial onto my iPod. Thankfully, I had just enough time on the layover and I was able to listen on the second leg of the journey home.
The podcast ended as I expected it to, though I have to admit my feelings about what really happened have shifted (yet again). I won't talk specifics since there are folks out there who are probably only just now getting into it. My guess is that my opinion of what happened will probably continue to shift until (if) an update is ever made. And it'll probably keep on shifting as we move away from the story and time marches on. That's the point, though. That's why the podcast was such a hit.
There are plenty of think-pieces out of there about the podcast itself, why it works, why it actually didn't, why it blew up even though it's basically just a prolonged radio version of 20/20. But I'm wondering about something else. I'm wondering about Season 2.
My initial thought is that they shouldn't do another murder case. They just won't be able to capture the same excitement of the unknown and it'll be overly-compared to this case.
There are plenty of other kinds of cases they could do. Disappearances. Kidnappings. Cults. Bank robberies gone wrong. I suppose they'll try to find a story that speaks to them and, regardless of what kind of crime it involves, they'll think story first.
Whatever it is, it has to be a case full of unknowns, questionable information, twists, mistakes and questionable conclusions.
I can't help but wonder, as a Syracuse Orange fan might do, if there's a certain story that wouldn't be perfect. At least, in terms of storytelling.
Think about it. You've got this notable figure who, on paper, looks dead to rights. Two accusers come forward. Then a third. Then a fourth. It involves a basketball program that's basically the city's pro team, a head coach who is basically the king of the city and a private university that digs in its heels to protect information and itself. There's an audio recording that seems to seal the deal. Then two of the accusers turns out to be liars and a third doesn't seem to be all that interested in the case. Throw in ESPN's questionable coverage, The Post-Standard's iffy choices, the post-Jerry Sandusky atmosphere at the time and all of the other major & minor characters involved (Laurie Fine, Bill Fitzpatrick, Gloria Allred) ...not to mention the fact that we STILL don't know what really went down...and you've got some seriously Shakespearean-level drama here.
How perfect is that for a 12-episode investigative podcast like Serial?
Of course, there's the part of my that would be terrified of this. That's a lot of digging around into Syracuse University, Syracuse Athletics, Jim Boeheim and everything else. There's probably plenty of skeletons left to be unburied and there's already such a target on our backs as it is. I'm sure SU would shut down any requests, as would Boeheim. The whole thing might hinge on whether or not they could get Bernie to talk, something he's never done since being fired. It's a longshot, for sure.
Loyalties and biases aside, from a storytelling point of view, this is a story I desperately want closure on. I'm probably never going to get it, but, uncomfortable associations and possibilities aside, it would be something to see competent, independent journalists deep dive into this entire saga and come out the other end with...something. Anything.
blue orange Syracuse fan in me wouldn't want the folks at Serial to touch this with a forty-four-foot pole. The podcast listener and mystery-lover in me would absolutely love it. Either way, we might not ever know what happened between Bernie Fine & Mike Davis. But the desire to know for sure is what keeps me interested.
Like I said earlier, that's the point.